Shoes, Woolf, movies and snow

The semi-traditional weekend update.

On Friday night I bought some shoes. This is something of an achievement, as I am majorly crap at buying shoes. I’m better at buying clothes than I was, but the shoe-buying skill still eludes me somewhat. It had to happen though – my usual work shoes, having put up for some time with five-day-a-week wear, were showing signs of stress. Time to get a second pair, get the first ones repaired, and rotate thereafter. After a failed attempt at Chadstone on Thursday night, I moseyed down Bourke Street after work and by some miracle fairly quickly found a very nice pair. Very nice. I’m wearing them now. I’m still getting used to them, but they’re muy cómodo. I’m telling you.

Saturday I headed out with the old pair to the local shoe repair place up by Carnegie station. The parallels between car repair and shoe repair were immediately evident, the bloke behind the counter tut-tutting, looking over them and telling me how much work was going to be involved to fix the hole in the bottom of one of them and to re-do the sole and heel, and how it was going to cost $50. Yikes. I pondered this for a little while, and just like when the car mechanic tells me some extraordinary amount of repairs is needed, decided to go for it. After all apart from the hole they were a quite serviceable good pair of shoes (which cost me three times that originally).

Then I caught a tram to
Elsternwick library
, where according to the online catalogue there could be found a copy of Virginia Woolf’s "To The Lighthouse" waiting for me. I’ve been scrabbling around for something to read other than the morning paper, so when this came
highly recommended
I thought I’d give it a go, though I’m in no mood to be buying any more books when there are still some waiting to be unpacked at home, so borrowing it from the library seemed like a good option. Even if they did make me pay an outstanding sixty cent fine before I could take it.

I started reading it while waiting for a tram back, and obviously looked so engrossed in it that the old lady also waiting there felt compelled to alert me when the tram arrived. With the distractions of Glen Huntly Road noise and movement all around, I found the first few pages rather heavy going, and this may instead be a book that requires as its reading environment a quiet room, a comfortable chair, and a cup of tea at hand.

[Mount Donna Buang]

The summit of Mount Donna Buang on Sunday. My handy-dandy camera’s pan feature came in handy again. Click it for a nice big version (379Kb)

That evening it was time for an evening out with an ever diminishing number of friends. Dinner for seven, a movie and post-movie dessert for four, and eventually just two of us left for a wander around Readings. No matter, all thoroughly enjoyable. The movie ("A Mighty Wind") was very amusing, and gets a thumbs-up from me.[Thumbs up]

The traffic jam on the way to the snow.

But no traffic up at the summit.

On Sunday I took the kids on our annual outing to the snow atMount Donna Buang. The snow report was very favourable, with heavy falls having occurred earlier in the week, and it seems a lot of other people wandered up the mountain that day, as there were queues along the way – twice on the road, and another to hire toboggans. No matter, a chance to eat our picnic lunch. But after the queues was the mountain, the glorious snow, the sun shining down on the summit, and the joys of skidding down the slopes on a bit of hard plastic. The waiting and the long drive were worth it. Even forgetting to take gloves wasn’t a problem.

That night I caught some of the Concert for Holly/cancer awareness, in between watching a tape of Saturday’sDaily Show. The Daily Show (Global edition) purports to focus on international events covered by the previous week’s Daily Shows aired in the US, but actually it’s more of a best-of compilation with a few "international" links thrown in by Jon Stewart. Some of these links are of doubtful value – the wisecracks about different languages might be amusing to an apparently insular New York studio audience, but I cringe a little when they come up. But the rest of the show is, at least to me, a very funny look at US current affairs. Something along the lines of an American version of CNNNN orBackberner. With anSBS-added blur to obscure the Comedy Central logo in the corner.

When the tape had finished, the Concert for Holly came back on. Problem was, having missed the start, I had no idea who Holly was. It eventually became apparent from watching (and checking the TV listing) that she was Holly Robinson, who had died of cancer, and before she’d died of cancer had hung about the Channel 10 studios. Possibly some kind of Channel 10 gopher or something. The concert itself felt like a Big Gig re-union show, and now I’m wondering if Holly was related to Ted "1990s ABC Comedy Supremo" Robinson.

I once went to a taping of The Big Gig. It was after its halcyon days, the sunset period, when the edge of its comedy was rather less sharp than it had been. Arguably the funniest stuff was all in the audience warmup, material which wasn’t aired, such as theDoug Anthony All Stars doing their impression of Christian youth camps ("Running and leaping and praising God!") And so this resurrection of a lot of the Big Gig characters like Candida and Shirley Purvis felt a bit stale, though the Sandman/Flacco bit and some other segments raised a smile.

The DAAS sung "Throw Your Arms Around Me"yet again – will that damn song never die? It was fabulous the first time they did it – as with their "Heard It Through The Grapevine" (which to their credit they have never repeated), the context made it what it is. Lowest of the low brow innuendo and savage biting sarcasm suddenly give way to a beautifully performed song. A masterstroke. That’s been lost in the subsequent dozen performances – now it’s just tiring.

The addition of some unbearable visiting English boy singer (Gareth someone) and his forgettable song (which they tried to convince us was good by noting that it was a UK hit) did nothing to help. I mean, if it’s a concert specifically dedicated to a particular person, what is the point of shoving in an import like this, someone who has undoubtedly never heard of the person being honoured, and is only trying to gain some publicity for an assault on our local CD-buying teenagers?

Ah well.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.